Leaf-peeping

In Mercer County alone, there are several excellent locations to enjoy nature’s beauty, such as Princeton City Park, seen here, or Pinnacle Rock State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park, according to Jamie Null, executive director of the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

PRINCETON — With the region’s fall foliage show in full swing, now is the perfect time for leaf-peeping in the two Virginias.

“Fall looks more vibrant, it smells crisp and it feels cool, especially after a hot summer,” Jamie Null, executive director of the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB), said.

Leaf-peeping, or visiting and photographing autumn foliage, brings many visitors into southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. With cooler temperatures and annual seasonal activities, residents, and tourists both enjoy all the neighboring states have to offer in the autumn months.

In Mercer County alone, there are several excellent locations to enjoy nature’s beauty, Nulls said. With state parks such as Pinnacle Rock State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park, guests can enjoy the scenery from a higher angle. From overlooks, visitors of these two locations in specific can appreciate the Mountain State’s beauty from high above the mountain tops.

Other parks within Mercer County also offer a mesmerizing experience. Null said both Camp Creek State Park and Glenwood Park allow guests to enter the wilderness and walk beneath the foliage as the colors shift from summer’s green to fall’s red and orange.

“While Camp Creek State Park doesn’t have an overlook such as Pinnacle Rock, it offers forest hiking trails, where visitors can be immersed in color on all sides,” Null said.

Perfect for family picnics, photo sessions, and other outdoor activities, Mercer County’s parks offer guests many opportunities for leaf-peeping appreciation. Other opportunities in Mercer County include Stumpkin Pumpkin, the pumpkin patch on Oakvale Road, according to Null.

To view a live map of the state’s foliage as the leaves are changing visit the West Virginia tourism website at www.wvtourism.com/fall.

In a release from West Virginia Tourism, Barry Cook, Division of Forestry Director, said, “Fall color first arrives at higher elevations in the state and works its way to lower elevations throughout the season. Fall color comes and goes very quickly, which is why we’re expanding our partnership to offer travelers as much fall color information as we can, as quickly as we can.”

Across the state line, in Virginia, guests can also enjoy the Appalachian changing of seasons with both scenery and festive events. In Bland, guests have the chance to enjoy the 26th annual Festival of Leaves, on October 12 and 13.

At the festival, guests can enjoy live music, hayrides, and other enjoyable festival activities, all while enjoying the area’s scenery.

Other locations to enjoy Virginia’s beauty include Lincolnshire Park in Tazewell, which allows visitors the chance to submerge themselves into nature. Along Patriot Trail, guests can walk around the lake for optimal an excellent Autumn hike.

In northern Tazewell, at Cavitt’s Creek Park, guests can leaf-peep or camp amongst the seasonal scenery. Other activities offered in the 300-acre park include paddle boating, kayaking, fishing, and more.

If guests are searching for quintessential fall activities, these can be found in Crab Orchard. With a corn maze, a large pumpkin patch, and a pumpkin catapult, the Crab Orchard Corn Maze is a great place to enjoy the harvest season.

“Often many visitors do not get to experience all four seasons, especially a fall in the mountains,” Null said, “As the weather turns cooler, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the mountains.”

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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